Traffic Fines Likely to Rise 10 Fold in India

The government of India is all set to bring out a major amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act of India. This amendment aims to ramp up the traffic fines in the country by a huge margin. The other contents of the bill are also aimed at making the roads of India a safer place overall. The bill was approved by the government of India and now there are hopes that the government will introduce the bill in the upcoming session of the Parliament.

A leading Indian daily’s legislative source stated the following about the bill cleared by the government of India,

The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill. It provides steep penalties for violation of various traffic norms.

The end of term for the 16th Lok Sabha meant that the bill that was pending in Rajya Sabha lapsed earlier this year. The debate about the bill when it was introduced for the first time around in 2017 was inconclusive and hence could not be passed in the first attempt. The Road Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari had earlier stated that the bill will be introduced in the coming session of the Parliament.

Talking of the bill itself, the proposals in the bill have been formulated on the recommendations of the transport ministries of 18 states of India. The new bill proposes to increase the fines of traffic offences by a margin that in some cases goes as high as ten times the existing fine. The bill also focuses on cases of juvenile riding/driving in the country and proposes to hold the parents/owners of the juveniles/vehicles guilty in such cases. The punishment in such cases could amount to the cancellation of the registration of the vehicle.

The bill will bring about changes in the driving training process of the country and aims at strengthening the same. Common offences like helmet-less riding will witness a fine of Rs. 1,000 as per the recommendations of the new bill. Other fines like aggregators violating driving licence condition will also see the offenders being fined to the tune of Rs. 1 lakh. As far as the offences of the enforcing authorities are concerned the bill proposes to double the fine in such cases.

This is a welcome move by the government of India, as the roads of India are particularly notorious for being highly unsafe. The low fines for offences leads to people sometimes breaking the law without worrying about the consequences and thus leads to lower compliance rates. In regard to this, the proposed changes should improve the situation, but enforcement will also remain a major challenge as a law can only take effect in the right sense when it is enforced in a proper and corruption free manner.   

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